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Depression causes

Depression is a common mental health disorder: around 280 million people worldwide suffer from it. The causes, however, vary. We’ll explain which factors increase the likelihood of depression in detail. 

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risk of depression

Who is at risk of depression

Depression is a mental health disorder that can affect anyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re male, female, a certain age, etc. Some sources do claim that women might be more susceptible to depression than men, but that doesn’t mean that depression is a female disorder. However, there are some people with certain genes or health conditions who are in fact more likely than others to experience depression.

Furthermore, if you’ve delt with a depressive disorder once before in your life, you’re likely to relapse or experience a different form of depression at one point or another.

Depression diagnosis

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What causes depression?

Sometimes, the underlying causes of depression are easy to spot. For instance, someone could experience depression because they have been faced with trauma. Other times, people suffer from depression for no apparent reason.

However, there are several aspects that are considered causes of depression. Do note, though, that having any of these factors doesn’t automatically mean you will definitely experience depression. 

Depression symptoms

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causes depression

Chemicals inside the brain

Depression can be caused by an imbalance in the brain chemical levels. That’s because our brain helps regulate our moods. Some professionals even believe that it’s not so much the chemicals in our brains that cause depression, but rather the way the different parts of our brain work together.

For instance, we have certain neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine that send a fight or flight response to the rest of our brain. Another important one is serotonin. It helps our brain regulate anxiety, distress, block pain, etc. The last one to look out for is dopamine. This “feel good” chemical gives our brain positive reinforcement and it helps motivate us to interact with certain people, partake in certain activities, etc.

Low levels of these chemicals are linked to depression, meaning that you’re more likely to experience symptoms such as anxiety, sadness, fatigue, irritability, and so on.

Life events

Distressing or life-altering events such as trauma, the death of someone you love, isolation and others can cause depression. These events can cause an imbalance in your bain’s chemical levels, therefore leading to depression.

Depression after birth

Even a happy event such as pregnancy or giving birth can disrupt the hormonal balance in your body so drastically that it can lead to postpartum depression. Estrogen and progesterone increase drastically when your pregnant. After having your baby, these levels fall back to what they were before the pregnancy in a matter of days.

Furthermore, the psychological and social effects of having a baby can have such an impact on your life that they can cause postpartum depression.

Depression from burnout

Some of the burnout symptoms, such as losing interest in something you used to love, fatigue, feeling worthless, etc. are similar to those of depression. However, burnout is specifically related to someone’s worklife, whereas depression can relate to anything. Both mental health disorders often overlap, but there is no definitive evidence of burnout causing depression.

Social isolation

Social isolation is a known cause of depression. Not having any social contact makes your stress response, whether it be fight, flight or something else, larger. Social contact, on the other hand, helps slow down the development of depression.


Sometimes, depression tends to run in the family. Research suggests that those who have a first-degree family member who suffers from depression, could be more likely to also get a depression diagnosis some time in their lives.

However, That doesn’t automatically mean that you will get depression. On the other end of the spectrum, it’s also possible that you get depression without having a family member with depression.


Some personality traits could increase the likelihood of having depression. These can include getting overwhelmed easily, overthinking, having negative thoughts, being hypersensitive to rejection or having a feeling of alienation to others.

Even if you’re not great at handling stressful situations, you could be more prone to having depression. If you know that you have some of these personality traits, you might want to seek out some help to learn how to deal with your feelings and thoughts in a healthy way.

Medical conditions & medication

Some medical conditions can lead to depression. Conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease or cancer often co-occur with depression. Another interesting condition that seems to show a correlation to depression, is having allergies to something else than food.

Some kinds of medication can result in depression or make your depression worse. The list includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Certain kinds of blood pressure medication

  • Sleeping medications
  • Some antibiotics
  • Birth control pills

Another type of “medication” that causes depression or makes it worse is substance abuse. This is never a good way to cope with depression and will only worsen your symptoms over time.

Overcoming depression at U-center

U-center houses many experts that specialise in depression and its many forms. Therefore, we know how to treat many kinds of depression in many different people. You can already find loads of information on our website. But if you want to learn more about our clinic or your condition, feel free to contact one of our experts. We’d be happy to help.

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Waiting Time

6 - 8 weeks

Last updated 19-07-2024